13 April 2016

  |  CBI Press Team


Let's not put barriers in the way of £550bn European investment

European business leaders, speaking on behalf of around 3.3 million firms, will highlight the value of 40 years’ worth of investment collaboration through the EU

European business leaders, speaking on behalf of around 3.3 million firms, will highlight the value of 40 years’ worth of investment collaboration through the EU.

In a meeting with the Prime Minister, the Directors-General of the business federations from Germany, France, Spain, The Netherlands, alongside the CBI and the pan-European group BUSINESSEUROPE, will say that EU membership is the bedrock of their collaboration with the UK.

Membership is an important factor in the UK maintaining and attracting £377 billion worth of investment from these four countries alone. In turn, the UK has £185 billion of investments in those four Member States, according to OECD figures from 2014.

Joined by senior figures from European companies, including Siemens, Cosmetics Europe, Banco Sabadell, Scottish Power (owned by Iberdrola) and Kannegiesser, they will make the case for why EU membership with full access to the Single Market helps create jobs, growth and prosperity in the UK and Europe as a whole.

Carolyn Fairbairn, CBI Director-General, said:

“Anyone in business, small, medium or large, knows that partnerships do not form overnight, they take years to establish their true value.

“European businesses are clear that 40 years’ worth of collaboration through the EU is critical to attracting investment to the UK – let’s not turn our back on our closest partners.

“We must not put barriers in the way that could risk over £550 billion worth of investment between the UK and four major European economies alone - which supports jobs across the country. Working together inside the EU has established a strong relationship based on mutual trust, business certainty and common rules. It also means we can draw on our collective strength to be world leaders in research and innovation.

“There are many reasons why foreign firms choose to put their money into the UK - our time zone, talent and language - but there’s no doubt, being in the EU with full access to the Single Market is a large part of the UK’s appeal.

“Why would we choose to break the world’s strongest cross-border trading partnership, which has been four decades in the making?”

The prospect of an exit from the EU presents a major risk to both business and foreign direct investment in the UK. Recent independent PwC research commissioned by the CBI found that under a potential scenario where the UK leaves the EU and instead trades under World Trade Organisation rules, investment could be lower by a quarter by 2020 compared to the UK staying in. Even in a scenario where the UK swiftly agrees a free trade deal with the EU, investment could still be 16% lower than if we were to stay in during the same period.

On the uncertainty created by an Out vote, Michel Guilbaud, Director-General of MEDEF (France), said:

“Europe is not perfect and all the issues our British friends raise are relevant. But no single country is able to cope with all the dramatic events we have to face, and we need the UK to build a better Europe with us, for our companies and for our citizens.”

On future German investments into the UK, Dr Markus Kerber, BDI (Germany) Director-General:

“A British exit from the European Union would result in a heightened environment of uncertainty for German investors in the UK. Almost 9% of total foreign direct investment in the UK comes from German business. Companies react to uncertainty by delaying or reducing their investment. This would also be true for German investors.

“Non-tariff barriers in services will likewise increase after an exit. Depending on the scenario, barriers and tariffs on goods may hamper trade too. Integration of British manufacturing and services would prove even more difficult in European value chains, further leading to German business leaving the UK.”

On why EU membership is important to future Dutch investments in the UK,

Cees Oudshoorn, VNO-NCW (The Netherlands) director said:

“The UK has put its mark on the rules in the EU for many years and made it a better place by insisting on having more market, more international trade, less government, better rules. In doing so the UK was an important ally of my country.

“By being a member of the EU the UK co-shapes the rules in its most important export market for financial services. It would be unwise to squander that asset. And as a member of the EU, the UK became the Netherlands’ second export market and the destination of € 177 billion of Dutch investments alone.

“The UK must remain in the EU, it is unquestionably in our mutual interest.”

On why it wants the UK to remain inside the EU, Ana Plaza, Secretary General of CEOE (Spain), said:

“The UK provides the EU with a valuable vision and regulatory culture that promotes competitiveness, deregulation and free trade, favouring business activity. This has contributed positively to boost European economic growth and job creation over the past decades.

“A withdrawal of the UK would have a major knock-on effect for the whole EU. Therefore, its membership is key for citizens and businesses in the UK, Spain and the whole EU.”

On the UK’s influence in driving a more competitive EU, Dr Reinhard Göhner,

Director-General of BDA (Germany), said:

"German business - large and small companies alike - strongly supports continued British membership in the European Union. One key pillar of the UK’s negotiations on its EU membership was a more competitive EU. This is beneficial for all citizens across Europe. We have to take all necessary reforms to be more competitive on a global scale and continue delivering growth and jobs.

“The UK and Germany share a common vision of the market economy and a common understanding of how the economy functions. Together we have managed to shift EU policy: the necessity of structural reforms has become the baseline of European economic governance. Cutting red tape is another priority we have managed to put high on the European agenda: good investment conditions and better regulation are important."

On the importance of the UK maintaining access to the single market, Emma Marcegaglia, President of BUSINESSEUROPE and head of Marcegaglia UK – a manufacturer which invests in the UK, said:

“The UK is a key player in the European single market. It has played a crucial role over the past forty years in helping Europe develop in a way that had the trade and the single market at its core. I believe that both the UK and EU economy have benefitted from UK membership of the EU in recent years, particularly through trade and investment flows.

“And full access to the Single Market is a vital part of the UK’s attractiveness as a place to invest and create jobs. All of our members, 40 national business federations from 35 European countries strongly hope that the UK will continue to remain an active and positive member of the EU.”

The full list of business leaders attending

Business federations:

Dr Markus Kerber, Director General of BDI (Germany); Reinhard Göhner, Director General of BDA (Germany); Ana Plaza Arregui, Secretary General of CEOE (Spain); Michel Guilbaud, Managing Director of MEDEF (France); Cees Oudshoorn; Director General-Designate of VNO-NCW (The Netherlands); Emma Marcegaglia, President of BUSINESSEUROPE (pan-European).


Martin Kannegiesser, owner and Managing Director of Kannegiesser GmbH; Juergen Maier, Chief Executive, Siemens UK; Miguel Montes Güell, Director General, Banco Sabadell; Keith Anderson, Chief Corporate Officer, Scottish Power (owned by Iberdrola); Loïc Armand, President of Cosmetics Europe

Notes to Editors:

The statistics are taken from OECD data tables from 2014.